Monday, February 9, 2009

Facebook Fanatics

Welcome back, it’s Monday.

I’ll go ahead and tell you that part of this blog will make me sound like a Luddite.

If you remember, the Luddites were a group of British textile workers in the early-1800s who revolted against new machines. They believed the new technology would put them out of their jobs. Which, to be honest, it did. Since then, the term Luddite has been used derisively to describe anyone opposed to technological progress and technological change.

For example, my wife is a Luddite. She thinks, or wishes, that computers were a fad. But, I digress…..

About 10 days ago, a friend (now I’m wondering) pushed me to sign up for Facebook. I did it more to get him to stop talking about it than any other reason. I’d read some about social media, and am registered for Linked In. But, I don’t use it, and I zap the requests for connection back affirmatively for no other reason than I don’t want to make folks feel bad by rejecting their gesture.

Well, my encounter with Facebook has already gotten out of hand! I’ve connected with folks I haven’t seen or heard from, or of, in 40+ years. One woman remembered me coming off a lifeguard stand and rescuing her in the early ‘70s. Another remembered me hitting her with a crabapple when we were children. A politician who doesn’t know me from Adam is now my “friend” and is using Facebook to flash an American flag and garner support.

At this point it’s all about memories. And that’s great, I love it. I’ve heard from a bunch of people whom I’d forgotten how much I liked. Anything that keeps people together is a good thing. Even if technology does allow us to reach out without actually connecting it’s an example of what John Naisbitt wrote about in the ‘80s book, Megatrends. He called it, “High tech, high touch.”

But, I’m seeing a disturbing trend. Some of the responses come back so fast that I wonder if the person is doing much else in life other than responding to Facebook. And a lot of the responses happen during work hours.

At a time when folks need to be paying more attention to their work than ever before, here’s a technology that is even more distracting than email. I understand and support the possibility of using work hours to connect with Facebook, Linked In, MySpace, Twitter, and other social media for business purposes. But, get real.

So, carve out some personal time and stay connected with friends. But, don’t be surprised when your employer comes in with a high-tech record of how much time you’ve spent telling your friends online how much you liked Little Anthony and the Imperials or posting pictures of your pet iguana…..and suggests that someone who doesn’t have so many “friends” can be found to do your job.

Look at it on the bright side, though. You’ll have all that time at home to spend on Facebook.

I’ll be in Wilmington until Tuesday night…so I’ll see you on the blogtrain on Wednesday morning.

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